Thiruvananthapuram: A day after the byelection results brought cheer, the CPM went through a bout of withering self-criticism for its indifference towards the poor in Aroor at the party secretariat here on Friday. There were many secretariat members who felt that what happened in Aroor was just the reverse of what happened in Ernakulam.
It was the unrelenting rain on election day that had given the poorly managed civic infrastructure in Ernakulam a catastrophic feel and had very nearly pushed the Congress to the brink of defeat. A senior party leader is said to have remarked that it had rained in Aroor, too, and the houses of the poor along the backwaters were flooded. They were angry that we had not taken serious note of their concerns, the leader has reportedly said. While the rich live on the hills, the CPM leader told the meeting that the poor in Aroor were dumped in the lower stretches that are easily flooded.
A source said there was general acknowledgement of the observation. The leader who made the remark also termed the unprecedented loss in Aroor as the revenge of the poor.
There were, however, differences of opinion about the impact of PWD minister G Sudhakaran's 'poothana' slur. Some said it was too common a usage to have had any effect in Aroor. Some others said that it definitely resulted in Shanimol Usman, already cast as a suffering woman, getting more sympathy. Nonetheless, many said it could have been avoided.
Even those who had brushed aside the 'poothana' comment as not serious said forcing the police to register a non-bailable case against the UDF candidate Shanimol Usman for blocking road repair in Thuravoor was uncalled for and thoughtless.
Finance minister T M Thomas Isaac told reporters after the meeting that all aspects related to the loss in Aroor would be subjected to a detailed study. “We will rectify mistakes after getting a proper understanding of the results,” Isaac said. He also said it was improper for communal organisations to influence elections. “Such an attempt is not welcome either,” he said.
Isaac's comment was clearly aimed at the Nair Service Society. Though the NSS had dumped its neutrality and made an explicit pitch for the UDF, it is no secret that the SNDP had thrown its weight behind the CPM. The source said that ministers G Sudhakaran and M M Mani too were harsh on the NSS at the meeting.
Thomas Isaac, however, refused to be drawn into a question on G Sudhakaran's 'poothana' comment. “I cannot comment on a topic that is under the consideration of the party,” he said.